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Mission Statement

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies is a multidisciplinary unit engaged in the study of the past, present, and future of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We are a community that strives to foster an academic environment that is rigorous and creative, intellectually honest, conducive to learning, and welcoming of open discussions in which differences of perspective and opinion are acknowledged and respected.

Our faculty and staff are committed to guiding and supporting students as they pursue their educational and professional goals. To help them achieve their goals, we motivate them to reach their highest potential as they seek, with an open mind, broad and deep knowledge of the region and prepare for their post-graduation careers. We help them find both local and international opportunities to advance their studies and skill sets, and toward that end we encourage them to engage in experiential learning, fieldwork, and research in the region. Through such involvement with students, we aspire to produce, in both our undergraduate and graduate programs, future generations of academics and other professionals who are knowledgeable, competent, and committed to the goals that informed their own training.

In our research work we produce new knowledge of the MENA region – its languages, cultures, and societies – in an interconnected world past and present. We share expertise with colleagues and students across UT, serving as a resource on the region for the UT community and the Austin community at large, and enhance the visibility of our Department by supporting active involvement of graduate students and faculty in professional academic organizations. We encourage collaborations with scholars and institutions in the Middle East, North Africa, and other world regions, and host local and international visiting scholars. We facilitate student involvement in community initiatives, and bring together the community at large in film screenings, concerts, lectures, symposia, and other events that are free and open to all.

Our Department is strengthened in all of these realms as each member of our community brings unique perspectives, expertise, and experiences to their work. For that reason, we envision our Department as inclusive of a diverse array of members who are treated as equal regardless of academic and personal backgrounds, identities, interests, and worldviews, and who join together in achieving excellence.